An amendment to a directive on packaging waste, voted through by MEPs, calls for a rise in the minimum recycling target by weight for packaging materials in waste from 55% to 65% by December 2006.
Lambasting the law as "wholly unreasonable", the Food and Drink Federation said a more realistic target was 50% by 2008 Â still ambitious considering recycling rates were about 25%.
FDF director general Martin Paterson said: "The food manufacturing industry takes its role in sustainability very seriously, but food safety is the number one priority when packaging food for consumers. "
BRC director general Bill Moyes said: "Increased targets will impose a huge additional cost on those working to meet the targets.
"Such increases can be justified if the resulting environmental benefits outweigh the costs, but not otherwise."